Thursday 23rd August

A much brighter day but a sharp wind saw us out and catching the bus opposite our accommodation heading for Cottesloe Beach.   The original plan had been to go to Penguin Island a boat trip away.  However, our on-going quest to see penguins in Australia was once again thwarted as rough seas had demolished the jetty on Penguin Island ……..
So Cottesloe Beach it was to be.  After a short bus ride we were delivered to Cottesloe town and headed over the railway line and over the hill to the beach.
  Here we found a number of surfers in the water looking, I thought,  like sharks themselves in their black wet suits and surf boards.  I have to report that Keith saw no similarity at all.  Having watched the surf for a bit, we decided to walk back to Fremantle along the path parallel to the Ocean.  It was a very pleasant stroll of about 5 miles and very satisfactory apart from the frequent note in the hedgerow drawing our attention to the need to ‘Beware of Snakes’.   Great! I had not expected to be threatened with challenging wild life at this early stage of the trip.  I have to report there was in fact no sign of wild life.  Ho hum.
Our Ocean stroll took us eventually back over the railway line away from the sea and back into Fremantle.  We popped back home for a sandwich before heading out again, determined to see the sun set over the harbour……..
…. and what a sunset it was!
  We sat at the Bathers Beach House Cafe and watched elegantly dressed wedding guests gather for a sunset wedding with eye wateringly high stilettos and the nervous laughs of those unused to such grand attire (it was probably the altitude).  Just as the sun hit the horizon the bride arrived as we turned away from the ocean and home to supper.
Our last evening in Freo.  As we took a final  look out over the Indian Ocean and the golden reflection of the sun in the water, we marvelled again at the good fortune of two very ordinary kids from not the necessarily best side of the tracks and how far we had come……..
How lucky are we.
Tomorrow Perth.


22nd August

Yesterday prisons. Today shipwrecks.  Although not raining, the day was quite fresh so we decided another indoor activity was required and set out to find the Shipwreck Museum down near the harbour.  En route, Keith took advantage of a coffee at the Ghetto Blaster Cafe – literally a hole in the wall on the Pakenham Road. Here we got into conversation with a lady wearing stunning glasses who came from London and had worked for the BBC in Tunbridge Wells….. amazing!  To add to her attraction was her incredible glasses……. the name of the opticians was duly noted!
The Museum was great. We spent a long time looking at the relics from the Dutch East India Company ship Batavia (model below – I cannot imagine why anyone would take off for the other side of the world in such a small boat…..)


The wreck of the Batavia together with its chests of silver, ceramics, bricks and cannon ware were found in the 1950’s but it was not until a major excavation was undertaken in 1972 that the extent of the treasure was retrieved from the sea.   At that time a full stone portico was found amongst the artefacts recovered.
The retrieved timbers of the ship have been preserved and now form part of the exhibition.
There were a number of shipwrecks described in the Museum and the artefacts found were very well displayed in the exhibition, including a steam engine built at the time of the Crimean War, still in working order having spent years under the sea…….
A number of things struck me about the whole shipwrecked business
that this sailing malarkey was not for the faint hearts
– taking the wrong turn in the Roaring Forties was a bit worse than a ‘whoops moment’
– that chaps whipped up and down from Europe to the Antipodes with amazing regularity (some arrived, returned to Europe and were back within 2 years!)
– the Dutch were well ahead of the English in this business!!
Having left the shipwrecks behind, we found an amazing exhibition of the entries for the Australian Wildlife Photography Exhibition tucked away in a side room.  What a treat. The most incredibly photographs….
What rich pickings the morning had provided.
We had ate lunch at a very interesting restaurant called Bread in Commn.  A great place with really interesting food…….


Tuesday, 21st August.
We woke to grey skies, heavy showers and a brisk wind.  Fine weather for the Fremantle Prison tour.  Suitably dressed to get wet (and we did!) we headed off to the prison which although originally built by the first convicts themselves, was fully operational until 1991.
First English settlers arrived in Western Australia in 1829 – a group of would be ‘gentleman farmers’. There were no roads, bridges or labourers to build them.  It was against this background that the stagnating colony applied to England to request the introduction of convicts to provide much needed labour and capital.  Transportation to the Eastern Australian colonies had drawn to a close and given the continued overcrowding in British Prisons, the British Government in 1849 agreed to send selected well behaved prisoners to what was called the Swan River Colony.  The first 75, all male, prisoners arrived in 1850.  Over 9,000 convicts were to follow.   Initially housed in a rented warehouse on the beach, the prisoners were put to work building the prison which was to hold them.   Subsequently they undertook many other public works under the guidance of a regiment of Royal Sappers and Miners.
Our visit took us through a large metal gate across a broad parade ground to the main prison block.  Four stories high and made of local lime stone, the prison was built to house 1,000 prisoners at any one time.



The mainly single cells were just 7 foot long and 4ft wide. A hammock was hung from an iron hook at each end of the cell.  A small stool, flap up table and toilet bucket formed the only furniture.  Originally there were no lights in the cells and just kerosene lamps in the outside corridor.  Apart from electric lighting, little changed when the prison became an Australian penitentiary in its later years. 1F9C9FC2-9714-4DDC-9051-E0D7CE4BEB9D
The Association Room and light airy chapels gave evidence of the more enlightened regime at the Fremantle Prison compared to that we saw when visiting Port Arthur in Tasmania on our last trip. The convicts invariably earned their ‘ticket of leave’ the first stage in the final release process. Shortly prior to receipt of their ‘ticket of leave’ prisoners were moved to the Association Room to enable them to integrate with others.
As they had no where to go unless they found work, the convicts were able to remain in the ‘Association Room’ until an employer was found.
One of the single rooms was recently found to have all its walls covered with paintings that had been whitewashed over.  The pictures had been etched by a prisoner who had been sent to the Colony having been found guilty of forgery.
 He subsequently became a recognised artist with works currently displayed in national art galleries. On the other hand, the first governor was found of defrauding the prison to fund his gambling habits- he was subsequently imprisoned in the place he used to govern………
After visiting the rather sinister punishment block and looking with some anguish at the whipping post (a sobering thought – if you received short of the number of lashes you had been given as your punishment before it was decided you had had enough for the day, those were allowed to heal and you were given the ‘balance at a later date……….)
……..we decided we were ‘prisoned out’.
The inclement weather continued, so after another foray into the supermarket, we adjourned home to close down for the evening with Jane Austen, having found an old copy of a Sense and Sensibility DVD in a cupboard.  Who would have thought it!!


Monday 20th August
We slept well and late and woke up to sunshine and ready to take on the day. Keith wasn’t quite so perky after he found that the milk ‘Dana’ had proudly heralded the night before as  awaiting our use in the ‘fridge was dated 26th June……..C’est la vie!
 Seeing this minor stumbling block as a ‘stepping stone’, we set out for ‘brunch’.  This we found in the ‘Two Reubens’  Cafe.   The designer flaky painted plaster, a motley collection of chairs and dehydrated tradescantia plants belied the standard of the food – the poached eggs were perfect!
Well sustained, we headed down to the waterfront, passing the Little Creatures Brewery on the way to the fish market where we purchased fish for supper.
Returning to town via the local Cole’s  Supermarket, we headed out again for a further promenade which rather inevitably took us back the Little Creatures Brewery.  This time we took the opportunity to sample their wares……
A couple of hours (and fun people watching) later we abandoned the planned sunset watching from the harbour wall as a big black cloud and weather front looked ominous. We arrived home before the heavens opened and Mr. Gregory rustled up a very tasty Thai style coconut fish curry on cauliflower rice.
All things considered, a good start!

Australia 2018

……and so another adventure begins.   It is 2018.  My 70th year and to date no reins on my roving.  I cannot believe my good fortune and feel duty bound to take advantage of it.  This time a forage into northwestern Australia.  From Perth to Darwin.  Some say ‘there is nothing there’, others recognise the riches and envy the opportunity. I will add another set of chronicles to my travelling diary – so that I can look back and remember.

Saturday 18th August
We set off!  (Very) Light bags packed,
ADCC24B1-A221-4517-AE97-50A82807E9EFwe were collected and delivered to the airport.  Just after 2.30 completely unnoticed by me, we took off.  The Business Class upper deck did not have the usual aura of calm.  Children of all ages, shapes, sizes and tongues surround us and we volunteered our ‘couple friendly’ double seats to an anxious and harassed mother separated by the discrete bars meant for the single occupant. Keith and I met up for a chat at the bar, then went our separated ways until Dubai.
Sunday 19th August
We left Dubai circa 2.00 am. UAE time and settled down to sleep after ‘breakfast’ for the long sleep to Perth.   We arrived at about 5.30 Perth time to a balmy evening with the sun setting as we were whisked from the very empty airport to our Fremantle hideaway.  Coincidentally ‘Dana’ our contact for the accommodation was at the door when we arrived and took us to the fifth floor apartment which is to be home for our stay.
Undeterred by our time confusion we decided to go out and stretch our legs after our fairly lengthy sojourn in the air and rekindle our relationship with the Monk Brewery Bar in downtown ‘ Freo’.  Here we found beer, cider and food. All was very welcome if enjoyed in an atmosphere of quiet contemplation.   We were a little low on conversation and it was not long before we hopped off our bar stools and set out for home and bed.  Tomorrow the 3rd Australian saga begins.